Today there are around 500 publicly funded Montessori schools in the U.S. From information obtained by the National Center for Montessori, this number has increased from less than 300 in 2000. While these schools are a well-known form of education, most people still find them quite mysterious. These schools can be a bit difficult to explain. To find out more about how a Montessori school operates, read on.
What Is Montessori?
The Montessori system of learning was developed by Maria Montessori. She was the first female doctor who used her education as a doctor to carefully study children. She then designed a system of education meant to appeal to the particular nature of children rather than oppose it. For instance, children like moving around. Instead of trying to stop them from doing this or fighting to make them stay in their seats, she thought it would make more sense to let them move around as they learn.
Montessori Schools and Experiential Learning
Children who attend Montessori schools learn stuff by interacting with specially designed learning materials. For instance, instead of cramming mathematical shapes, they learn through counting and interacting with concrete materials. They also make use of small objects and the movable alphabet as they learn about reading and writing. This method of teaching makes use of experience rather than the conventional sitting and listening to the teacher.
Mixed Age Classrooms
Unlike most schools, Montessori school classrooms comprise mixed ages and children with mixed skill levels. These classes are normally split into three-year groups. These schools also encourage peer learning. This is done by having younger children observe their older friends. The older classmates will also solidify their knowledge and gain important leadership skills by teaching the younger ones.
Freedom Within Limits
Most of the learning that happens in a Montessori school is learner-directed. This means that a teacher will give the child lessons on materials that he or she hasn’t interacted with before. The child can then independently choose to learn the materials as they please. Apart from this, children who learn in a Montessori school choose how and where to sit. They also choose what to work on. However, the learning process is still guided. There are things children will not be allowed to do in class. For instance, children must not do any activities that will distract fellow learners.
If you’re interested in learning how your child can benefit from a Montessori school, don’t wait to reach out. Our staff at Rowntree Montessori School is happy to answer your questions.